The holiday season is almost here and, for many, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! There’s so many wonderful traditions to look forward to, from making snowmen to sending Christmas cards. Maybe you even go door to door and sing Christmas carols.
Regardless of how your family celebrates, you can easily add a dash of excitement to this year’s festivities by incorporating a fun, new ritual. The following ideas are packed with good cheer, so get in the holiday spirit and try one out.
1. Bake Christmas Cookies
Shhh. Christmas cookies don’t have calories, so bake up — and eat up — as many as you want. Gather the kids in the kitchen for a day full of rolling, kneading and decorating. Which ones should you make, though? Traditional sugar cookies are a blast to make, peanut butter blossoms are delicious and snowball cookies promise tastiness — and a flour fight or two. Whatever type you bake, you’re sure to make lots of memories and yummy treats along the way.
2. Create a Countdown
Advent calendars are a fun way to count down the days until Christmas. Maybe you’ve even enjoyed a boozy or chocolatey calendar yourself. Why not let your kids join in the fun? Make calendars for your little ones based on their favorite activities. Fill 24 bags, boxes or drawers with love notes, candy and other small gifts. Watch their anticipation grow as they gleefully open one each day. Christmas day is the grand finale, so save the best gifts for last.
3. Theme Your Tree
If your family celebrates the holidays by putting up a Christmas tree, you probably have decorations for this year’s evergreen. However, if you want to begin a new exciting tradition, try theming your tree. This season, it might be a metallic theme, but next year the guys can choose Star Wars. Let everyone pick out ornaments that match the theme and set aside an hour or so to decorate the tree together. Crank up jingle bells and make some hot cocoa to make this tradition extra memorable.
4. Put an Elf on the Shelf
You’ve probably seen Elf on the Shelf getting into mischief on your socials. Why not bring that same magic and excitement to your own home? Where will your elf hide and keep an eye on who’s being naughty and nice? The elves are watching, so your littles better be good! Wherever your elf on the shelf ends up, your family’s bound to have fun trying to find him each day.
5. Write Letters to Santa
Remember when you used to write letters to Santa to ask him for that cool new skateboard or the doll you thought your parents would never buy? Christmas day was unforgettably magical when you unwrapped those items you wished for in secret. Inspire that same spirit of wonder in your kids by writing letters to old Saint Nick himself. Incorporate this tradition earlier in the month so you have time for some last-minute shopping!
6. Go Look for Lights
Everyone has to go to bed sometime or Santa won’t come, right? Push bedtime off for just one more hour and go look for Christmas lights. Take a stroll around the block or go for a short drive and point out all the brightest, flashiest decorations. Who can spot the most light-up reindeer or handmade snowmen? Turning the family outing into a game of i-spy will keep e[veryone engaged and entertained, which always makes for the best memories.
7. Celebrate Nochebuena
Spanish for “good night“ Nochebuena is a Latinx tradition that has been passed down for many generations. This Christmas eve feast begins at midnight and lasts well into the next morning. Originally, it was a way to celebrate and eat after returning home from night mass. Nowadays, it’s an all-nighter that consists of a huge midnight meal, games, stories, movies and music. Regardless of which activities you choose, your kids are sure to love staying up past their bedtime.
8. Give Back
‘Tis the season of giving, which means it’s the perfect time to give back to your community. Teach your kids about the power of generosity by regifting used toys to kids in need. You can also donate food, books, hygiene products and other items to local charities. Gather them all in a special sack and put it beneath the tree so Santa can take and redistribute them to little boys and girls who will enjoy them just as much as your kiddos.
It’s the Little Things
A little creativity goes a long way when it comes to celebrating the holiday season. Tailor the ideas above to fit your family and focus on all the little things that make the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas so memorable. Often, it’s the simplest and most thoughtful rituals that really strike a nostalgic chord and become family traditions.